The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Groped

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Burns

    4
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Beaten

    3
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Meningitis

    1